Exclusive: Security from around the world – Part 14


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In the fourteenth instalment of the series, Matthew Porcelli, CPP catches up with Codee Ludbey, CPP of the ASIS International – New South Wales Chapter.

What are the most pressing security challenges you are facing in your region?

I think there are three key challenges in the region now:

Australia is currently undergoing a significant investment cycle in public infrastructure projects such as public transport, freight rail, aviation and motorways across all the major states. Due to this, the security industry is being pulled in a lot of different directions to support this investment. In New South Wales (NSW), I am seeing a lot of security expertise being stretched thinly across multiple projects as the market is struggling to find enough people to support the number of concurrent projects that are underway.

Government clients, contractors and engineering firms are fighting over a limited pool of specialists who could provide invaluable expertise in the delivery of, or oversight of, these projects. This is leading to delivery risks in my opinion, but also provides a significant opportunity for security practitioners to develop quickly and make a significant impact on these projects.

Part of this market capacity issue stems from the limited number of young professionals entering, and already in, the industry. While we see a lot of security studies students at a university level, a significant number of these either graduate into intelligence and law enforcement roles or move into different industries.

It is challenging to raise awareness of the private security sector with these students and other young professionals due to a lack of defined career pathways, graduate programs and outreach initiatives. The ASIS NSW chapter, for example, has been proactively targeting universities over the last few years with some success. Nevertheless, these challenges have resulted in a significant gap in expertise and succession planning across all security disciplines in the market.

Finally, the security industry is rapidly evolving in Australia, with these major infrastructure projects raising the expectations of what is ‘good’ and ‘holistic’ security. Recent legislative changes have resulted in more infrastructure assets being considered ‘Critical’ at a national level, which is driving increased security requirements and complexity.

The market is being driven to deliver to new expectations, including in the cyber arena, while being stretched from a capacity perspective. To me, this has really highlighted the need for well educated, experienced and well rounded security expertise – there seems to be a limited supply at the moment.

Can you describe your journey in the world of security?

My journey started in high school, where I was fascinated by computers, technology, spy dramas and everything crime (i.e., from the perspective of the “good guys”). Having grown up being engrossed in these topics, I decided to enrol in a university degree focused on security studies, specifically security in the built environment at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.  

I carried these studies through to a Masters level, with a research focus on enterprise corporate security and how security teams within some of Australia’s largest publicly listed firms operate effectively.

This degree led to many opportunities in the industry and I have been fortunate enough to work across the aviation, emergency management, arts and culture, tall building and critical infrastructure sectors. Most of my career has been spent in New South Wales, within the security engineering and assurance discipline, focused on holistic security risk management of built infrastructure, crowded places and city precincts.

I have worked for major international engineering organisations as well as smaller specialist firms providing consulting and advisory services across these sectors. Most recently, I have been leading a specialist security consulting firm providing security advice across multiple market sectors.

As a consultant, I have been fulfilling a subject matter expertise role on some of Australia’s largest public infrastructure projects, providing advice across physical security, counter terrorism, electronic security and cybersecurity. I have been providing this advice across the project lifecycle from early business case development, through design, construction and then operations.

My role requires me to work with engineers, architects, urban designers, builders, technology specialists, executives and the public to ensure a safe and secure design outcome is achieved.

Can you tell us about your journey within ASIS and how it has helped you in your career?

I started to regularly attend ASIS International meetings in New South Wales after moving inter-state from Western Australia for a security role after completing my tertiary studies.

My mentor at the time recommended attending these to build my network and to get settled into the NSW Security industry. The Chapter was very welcoming and these initial meetings significantly helped me to understand the local market, who the key players were, and provided plenty of professional opportunities.

From here, I sat the CPP exam and was fortunate enough to pass. I found there has been a distinct ‘before’ and ‘after’ in terms of industry recognition and career opportunities. ASIS certification in Australia is still developing as a known and respected designation outside of ASIS circles; however, it has definitely increased my standing in the marketplace, with clients and with employers.

Finally, I decided to give back to the local Chapter and the region after so much support had been given to me and I am now the Assistant Regional Vice President (ARVP) for NextGen and the NSW Chapter Secretary and NextGen (a global community interested in issues related to young professionals) lead.

It has been a fantastic career opportunity to support the local industry in terms of building my personal profile, but also in terms of seeing the industry grow and succeed in bringing in and developing the next generation of security professionals in NSW.

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